5 arrested in alleged plot to blow up Cleveland-area bridge
The FBI released these images of the defendants Tuesday morning.
May 1st, 2012
10:18 AM ET

5 arrested in alleged plot to blow up Cleveland-area bridge

[Updated at 12:06 p.m. ET] Five men have been arrested on suspicion of trying to use what they thought were explosives to destroy a bridge near Cleveland, Ohio, the FBI said Tuesday morning.

Some of the men on Monday planted what they thought were two remotely activated C-4-based explosive devices - which they allegedly bought from an undercover FBI employee - at the base of  a Route 82 bridge that crosses from Brecksville to Sagamore Hills over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the FBI said in a news conference Tuesday.

The devices actually were inoperable and posed no threat to the public, and the FBI arrested the men shortly after the devices were planted, authorities said.

Douglas L. Wright, 26; Brandon L. Baxter, 20; and Anthony Hayne, 35, were arrested by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force on Monday evening on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce, the FBI said.

Also arrested were Connor C. Stevens, 20; and Joshua S. Stafford, 23. Their charges were pending.

Three of the men are self-proclaimed anarchists, the FBI said in a news release.

"The public was never in danger from explosive devices," the FBI said.

The group initially planned to "topple financial institution signs atop high rise buildings in downtown Cleveland" while co-conspirators used smoke grenades to distract law enforcement, according to the FBI. But the plot evolved into plans for using explosive to destroy bridges or other targets, and the group finally decided on the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge, which carries Route 82 over the national park, the FBI said.

Some of the defendants, after they planted the devices, intended to detonate them from a remote location that they believed was safe and could provide them with an alibi, authorities said at Tuesday's news conference.

The FBI learned of the plots through a confidential source who met Wright at a Cleveland-area protest event in November, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. district court. Wright told the source that Wright and a group of anarchists "had been discussing plans involving violence and destruction to physical property ... to send a message to corporations and the United States government," the complaint reads.

“The complaint in this case alleges that the defendants took specific and defined actions to further a terrorist plot,” U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach said in the news release. “The defendants stand charged based not upon any words or beliefs they might espouse, but based upon their own plans and actions.”

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soundoff (564 Responses)
  1. RogerKorby

    Extremists exist on both sides of the aisle.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

    The comments from the Tea Party types are proving the stereotype. These punks had more in common with them than they do the 99%.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • huh?

      Exactly how do they have more in common with the tea party? They are a leftist group, you fool. Pay attention next time, son.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • January24

      Tom,

      Are you brave enough here to come back in and admit your mistake when it becomes even more clear that these are OCCUPIERS?

      Refugees from Zucotti Park. Darlings of the LEFT.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Snoopsig

    Fight Club was only a movie...say it with me...only a movie.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Miller14

    The true definition of being on crack.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. hibernia

    Yes, great job FBI. Yet another gang supplied with everything they needed to incriminate themselves. How about you actually find some really bad guys and not just giving us saps who in all likelihood couldn't have done the job without the FBI to begin with. Seems to me the ones who have really been stopped with actual explosives have all been busted by sharp eyed private citizens and border patrol agents.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Orwell

      right and i wonder who encouraged them to not take down the billboards but switch to blowing up a bridge....seriously..

      May 1, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Ladislav Nemec Big Bear California

      It surely looks that way. Did the FBI participate in the group's discussion to switch from destroying signs to destroying bridges? Hopefully not but we will never know.

      On the other hand, the principle of suicide terrorism is kind of self-defeating. The real smart leaders of 9/11 attack are dead (as they wanted to be) and the later real terrorists turned out to be quite incompetent (the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber). They just failed. It just may be that religious (or other) fanaticism stops when a suicidal behavior is demanded – for a vast majority of people, that is.

      Obviously, this is not the case in some Asian countries but this is irrelevant in this context.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Ladislav Nemec Big Bear California

      It surely looks that way. Did the FBI participate in the group's discussion to switch from destroying signs to destroying bridges? Hopefully not but we will never know.

      On the other hand, the principle of suicide terrorism is kind of self-defeating. The real smart leaders of 9/11 attack are dead (as they wanted to be) and the later real terrorists turned out to be quite incompetent (the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber). They just failed. It just may be that religious (or other) fanaticism stops when a suicidal behavior is demanding – for a vast majority of people, that is.

      Obviously, this is not the case in some Asian countries but this is irrelevant in this context.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      The FBI didn't instigate this conspiracy. I guess you're saying that if such info comes to their attention, they need to back off and just wait until these idiots actually do something before they arrest them. Hmmmm, that doesn't jive with the criticism that someone "failed to connect the dots" before the successful 9 11 attack. So which is it; stop a criminal act before it can take lives or wait to see if the plot is a success, then act?

      May 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pijoe

    On their Facebook pages both Brandon Baxter and Joshua Stafford, the two describe themselves as having worked at “Occupy Cleveland.”

    May 1, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • January24

      Color me SHOCKED!

      Shocked, I tell you.

      These are OCCUPIERS? Darlings of the LEFT?

      WHO would've thought it? I thought the Zucotti Park group was a fine group of Americans. After all, they got a ringing endorsement from both Obama and Pelosi. Remember?

      Yes, indeed. Remember in November.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Marley

    And all this time, all those racists complaining about Muslims forgot to look in the mirror.

    The most likely people to cause terrorism in the USA are WHITE AMERICANS.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Honestly.

      Of course, black Americans aren't smart enough to conspire to do anything except collect their Welfare Reparation check.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Muzzies are still the scorge of the earth and should all be deported out of all western countries. As for these idiots they can be offed too.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Good Citizen

      Chill with the racism, dude. These are Occupy Wall Street societal losers. Don't try to malign all caucasions just because a handfull of Ohio twenty-somethings didn't want to get jobs in the cruel world of capitalism. Your sweeping stereotype attempts to paint all whites as leftist communist agitators. I'm surprised Van Jones wasn't implicated.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dave in Ohio

    Dumber than a box of rocks.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • jim

      The sum of all five of their I.Q.s probable wouldn't top 90.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. GauisCaesar

    I guess CNN doesn't want to report that they were part of the Occupy protests?

    May 1, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Read the friggen article, they did.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • twirtzy

      If you can type your post, you should be able to read the article first. Try again......

      May 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • January24

      OCCUPIERS!

      Yes! Darlings of the Left. Remember when Obama and Pelosi gave their ringing endorsements to the Zucotti Park mob?

      It figures. These are the political children of Obama's old running buddy, William Ayers.

      Ayers. Remember him? He managed to blow up his own girlfriend during one merry bomb-building session.

      Ayers. Quoted recently as saying he gets up every morning with a fresh determination to destroy capitalism.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

    @ RogerKorby
    True… just disproportionally on one side than the other.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mr. Bones

    The picture up there looks kinda like photos on the back of a record album. (l to r) Drums: Dr. Screwcap; Lead Vocals: Nuckles Van Horne; Rhythm Guitar/Background Vocals: Josh Kosk B'Gosh; Bass: Danny Velvet; Lead Guitar: Toby Toberson.

    The band would be called "Light Sweet Crude For October Delivery," and their first album would be called "Out Here To Catch Fish And Stink."

    May 1, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. RedCitizen

    I like to see that when white kids do something wrong, the entire white community doesn't recklessly defend them as victims of racial injustice.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Sanford

      No justice, no peace! Profiled just because they're wearing hoodies, or flannel shirts, or whatever. $10,000 reward, dead or alive. If I had a son, he'd look just like these five Ohio white guys, buckeyes, I guess.

      May 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    If guilty execute them as traitors. The End

    May 1, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. russellQbones

    How do these people always end up talking to an FBI agent to try and purchase their explosives? Does the FBI run classified ads in the back of some nut-job newsletter?

    May 1, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. RogerKorby

    These guys are terrorists. Probably an acceptable term with the left and mainstream media in this particular case since they are white.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Your right they are and should be treated as such.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
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